Fri, May 04, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Syrian university suspends classes after students killed

AFP, BEIRUT

Syria’s Aleppo University yesterday announced it was suspending classes after pro-government forces killed four students and arrested more than 200 in a campus raid during anti-regime protests.

In a message posted on its Web site, the northern city’s university told students that classes were suspended until final exams on Friday next week.

“Students were barred from entering the campus and were told that the university dorms were shut down until further notice,” Mohammed al-Halabi, an activist on the ground, told reporters via Skype.

Security forces had raided the dormitories yesterday morning and had thrown out students and their belongings, he said, adding some of the rooms were torched.

The closure came after troops and armed supporters stormed an anti-regime protest on campus overnight, killing four students and arresting more than 200, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based watchdog also reported that 28 students were wounded, three of them critically.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Observatory, said the events in Aleppo could mark a turning point for Syria’s second city and commercial powerhouse, which has largely been spared the unrest shaking the country for nearly 14 months.

“The city of Aleppo hasn’t joined the anti-regime revolt thus far, but the seriousness of these events will push residents to mobilize in solidarity with the students,” he said.

Activists said the raid was carried out in response to daily anti-regime demonstrations at the university.

In related news, prominent opposition figure Fayez Sara said Syrian security forces arrested his two sons yesterday, hauling them off to an unknown location without showing a warrant.

“Security forces stormed the apartment where the brothers live at 6am. They broke down the door looking for weapons and took Bassam, 37, and Wissam, 26,” Sara said by telephone.

His sons, who suffer from health problems, were “not allowed to take their medication with them,” Sara said.

Sara was among more than 100 journalists who founded an “Association of Syrian Journalists” in February.

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